Thursday, February 16, 2012

I just had another awesome daytime nap dream. In this one I moved to Colorado. My sisters moved there too so we could see each other all the time. My husband ran a van/bus rental place, I became a vet, and we had a huge house that we were slowly remodeling. The property was huge with a large storage shed in one place and another very large barn right near it. It was early November and there had been a huge snowfall so a lot of our kids' friends  were running around and making snowmen and having fun. I remember realizing money was not an issue. The vehicle rental was just to make extra cash and to have a hobby. I didn't have a real vet's practice. I mostly just helped out people locally with their pets out of my home. I walked through the house and saw each room and noticed what still needed to be done with them. It wasn't a cause of worry or guilt,, just that I was remembering things I had to do...eventually. One room was a nursery that we had started to paint pink, but ended up painting over it with blue because I had a boy instead of a girl. I got the feeling that it was unplanned, but a very wonderful surprise, nonetheless.

I walked around the property and saw all of the kids having fun in the snow. I knew that it was only because this was the first REAL snowfall of the year. After a few days everyone would get used to it again, but for now it was cool to see everyone enjoying themselves. I walked through the alley between the two storage buildings and found something I had been looking for wedged under the wall of the storage shed. It was a Santa Clause Suit with real fur and bells.It was too far for me to reach it so I took my husband to where I found it so he could retrieve it and put it where it belonged in the barn storage. I distinctly remember the dark feeling of the storage shed and then the bright, happy interior of the huge barn where many things  were stored until we needed them. It wasn't packed very full, but there were stacks of boxes everywhere  piled neatly. Most of out belongings were in here so the house could be as empty as possible while we were rebuilding. I didn't miss my things or feel the urge to look for anything. I knew it was all safe there and it would be ready for me when I needed it. The area where we stored Christmas decorations was full of boxes and decorations, some of them too large to be boxed up. I can remember the way the light filled the room from the high windows and the smell of the air. You could tell it used to hold animals, but it wasn't a bad smell. Just an earthy, animal smell.

Once we placed the suit where it belonged, my husband went off to the van rental office because he local school had a field trip planned for the day and they always called him to borrow a van or bus. He gave them a good deal compared to the normal school buses and the kids got to ride in comfortable, fancy vehicles. the kids were all showing up and getting in a line for the trip. You could tell they all knew it was a special trip and they were excited but also trying very hard to behave because they knew to be on their best behavior when they got to ride in the special buses.

I took a moment to look around the property before heading into the house. I could see our multiple acres stretching out all around me, covered with snow, and I felt satisfied that it was all mine. I could see the shapes of mountains far off and that made me happy, too. I headed back into the house and walked into the kitchen area, which wasn't completely furnished yet. There was a fully working kitchen on the basement floor that would work for us until the kitchen remodeling was done. I walked up the stairs to the attic floor, and my sister in-law was there. She was gathering cloth and decorations because someone in our family would be getting married in a few weeks. When Thanksgiving got here I would be putting up a lot of the family for the holiday dinner and for the wedding that would happen that weekend.  I wasn't panicked that nothing was ready or that I had so much to do in such a short time. I knew that what needed to be done would be done and what didn't get done wasn't so important that it had to be rushed.

I remember the sense of peace that I felt during the whole dream. I was in and out of wakefulness so sometimes I would ask myself a question like, how did I get here? How far in the future is it? I always found a reasonable answer that wasn't filled with regret or sadness. I was so happy when I woke up that it took me a little while to remember that this all had been a dream and that I hadn't been thinking about plans that have actually been made.

Pretty cool, huh? It sounds like my mind is making plans for my future without me!

Deb "The Dreamer" Lollar

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day...again....

Have I ranted about Valentine's Day before? Other than how much I really, really have no desire to get chocolates today (or any other day?) Or how shortening the name to VD sounds like a communicable disease. And using V-Day isn't really proper either, considering it is also the name for the anniversary of the day we "won" WWII (if you can ever really win a war.)
The way I see it, Valentines Day is for lovers still trying to impress each other. I do actually feel it is totally acceptable to make this day an excuse to express feelings that may or may not have been expressed before. However, vying for the same chocolate dipped strawberries and super-sized balloon as every other person at the grocery store is just silly. If there is someone that you want to impress or express your feelings to, go ahead, just do it in a personal and reasonable way. Going "all out" is just setting  a dangerous precedence. Every year  you have to prove that THIS DAY of all days is better than the one last year and (more importantly) is better for you than for any of your friends, frenemies, or co-workers. You end up with a chocolate and rose-filled arms race! Besides, can you really confess true love to someone while crammed together with 40,000 other couples doing the exact same thing? It sounds a bit questionable to me.

So, if you don't have a lover then you are off the hook and be thankful you don't have to buy crappy chocolate and overpriced flowers that will die in the next few days anyway. Do something special to remind yourself that You love You. Every morning and every night YOU are the only one that for SURE you will be with, so make every moment you have by yourself count. Love yourself and treat yourself as wonderfully as you want. You already know what flavor ice cream you like best or which dance club you enjoy most. If you have been putting off doing something luxurious for yourself, take the excuse. Book a massage or buy that game you've really been wanting. Please don't sit at home alone and be mopey or depressed. Remember - there are thousands of people out there that would cut off a limb to get a night alone doing whatever THEY want to do. You are in an extremely enviable position.

Also, if you already have someone and you both are already impressed with each other, you should be let off the hook, too. For starters, you shouldn't have to wait until Valentine's Day to do something special. Why not choose ANY OTHER DAY of the year and make it special so that you and your sweetie can enjoy each other without the rush and bustle and exchange personal and/or sexy gifts that are specific to your own tastes. Just agree between the two of you that some other date can be special and romantic and filled with sweet treats and goofy cards. Maybe it's an anniversary of a date that is special to the two of you - wedding, or first kiss, or whatever you like to remember - just make it meaningful and go with it. You will not regret it (and neither will your credit card.)

Now, in spite of this all, I'm not really OFFENDED at the idea of showering your sweetie/spouse/domestic partner/future lover with some attention, affection, and maybe a heartfelt gift. I just think maybe people make too big a deal about it. Ok... Actually, WOMEN make too big a deal about it. I mean, seriously! Why should we demand that someone "gifts" you or else their unworthiness will be punished and posted on every social media network available. Why must so many of my fellow females compare the "romantic" overtures and gifts received to every other year and/or every other person getting gifts around you. It just isn't nice or fair. Didn't Momma teach you better manners than that?  Why can't we all just agree to take things less seriously?

While this sounds a whole lot like "sour grapes" I assure you it is not because of being slighted in any way during the "season of lovers." In fact, I have had some pretty stellar dates - and gifts - for the sake of Valentines Day. The reality just never measures up to the expectations. What on earth am I going to do with a stuffed animal holding a dinky red heart pillow?  Dinner out at a jazz club sounds divine, doesn't? It isn't so awesome when the place is packed to the walls, so noisy you can't hear the band, and you are only allowed to sit at the table for so long before you are rudely ushered out because someone else has reservations, too. And have you SEEN the price of roses? Not today... four weeks ago. Or a month from now. It is outrageous how prices are inflated during the first two weeks of February! Why on earth would you WANT someone to pay THAT MUCH MORE for something that isn't worth nearly that much on any other day of the year. For the price of a dozen, I could get a new pair of shoes. Buy me a rose in July. I'd much rather have the shoes today, thank you.

Since I have three daughters, I am a bit torn on how to handle this with them. The oldest one has a steady boyfriend, and I know she expects a lot of insanity like all the other high school girls do. I am thankful that the other two haven't reached this stage yet. For them, Valentine's is just another excuse to eat Red 40 laden cookies and candy and exchange papers covered with goofy pictures and puns they don't really understand. For teens - especially girls - it is so much bigger, and crazier, and filled with expectations that teenaged boys seldom know how to deliver on. I know this year just didn't pan out like LH wanted and I know she is a bit disappointed. The fact is, she has a beautiful gift and card for her beau and I know she REALLY wanted to see him TODAY to give it to him, but she didn't get to and I don't know what to say. I'm pretty sure anything I try to say will come across as cold and heartless because, you know... I'm GROWN-UP and I just don't UNDERSTAND!!! I can only hope for her sake - and the sake of her poor clueless boyfriend - that she mellows out a bit.

Before I wrap this up, I need to mention a wonderful group of people for whom Valentine Day means something a little bit different. Here in Texas, our Governor has declared February 14th Congenital Heart Defect (or CHD) Awareness Day. If I have my facts straight, this was largely spearheaded by a wonderful mother who's son was born with the same defect as my Little Heart - hypo-plastic left heart syndrome (or HLHS.) This "Heart Mom", as I like to call her, won several pageants in the area and used her position to petition for this day and this week to be dedicated to this cause. She has always thought the symbol of the heart that is everywhere right now could be used as an additional reminder of the thousands of babies born each year with a CHD. Some of them live totally normal lives and you would never know their ticker wasn't perfect. Many of them, however, lead a life filled with doctors, medications, surgeries, and the constant reminder that while they often don't look different on the outside, they are very different from their peers. Sadly, far too many of these babies never live to see their first birthday or even leave the hospital. Without a doctor who is trained, alert, and lucky many babies miss being diagnosed with a heart defect before it is too late to treat them. So, just keep LH in mind the next time your kids bring home a Jump Rope for Heart brochure or you have the chance to donate a dollar to the American Heart Association or even your local Children's  hospital. Amazing things can happen with enough support and awareness. Also, become an organ donor. The life you save will be someone else's.

One more thing - Happy Birthentines Day to Spike, my awesome littlest sister who is now living out her happily ever after with her darling Walrus and her Baby Bucket to be...

Deb "Humbug" Lollar

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thank's for your support!

I wanted to say Thank You to all those who have contacted me personally and publicly since my last post. It seems like such a small thing, but just a few words of encouragement, an offer to come visit, even a "thumbs up" that you liked a post - these things all help me feel more human and better connected.

I wasn't really prepared for the emotional crap-storm that happened shortly after I finished that last post. Apparently, just reading it, several of you could see what was going to happen. To me it just came out of the blue. I was sad, confused, angry, and upset with myself for letting the emotions spiral out of control that way. (No one ever said crazy people are logical.) In 36 hours I went from mildly disappointed, to feeling kind of blah, then crashed to depression so bad I didn't get out of bed to answer the phone. When I told my husband I was having a bad day he told me he would be home all night for me (no meetings or appointments) but instead of cuddling on the couch and watching NCIS with him, I crawled into bed and stayed there until I was woken up at 4:00 in the morning by a nightmare. The emotions of the day came crashing back to me and I felt even more worthless than before. I felt as if I was throwing a toddler style tantrum in my mind - screaming for something and as soon as I get it, it isn't good enough and I want something else.

I don't write all of this out to ask people to feel sorry for me. Pity doesn't really help anyway. The reason I share this stuff is because I am sure that I am not alone in feeling like this. Maybe someone else deals with the same thing but feels alone and weird about it, just like I used to? Just knowing that you aren't the only one can sometimes be the spark that gets you moving towards recovery. I know it was for me.

Today is much better than the last few days were. I won't say I'm completely over this little bump in the road, but I recognize how it feels to be in the recovery stages of a crash like that. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that this bout didn't last longer than it did but I think I know why I have been able to beat it down this time. I really wanted to share this part because I know that sharing problems isn't right unless you share the solutions you have as well. Otherwise it is just called complaining.

The way I managed to snap out of this isn't because of some miraculous drug or new-wave technique. It is because I decided to ACKNOWLEDGE that this type of deep and sudden depression is not natural. Something causes it to happen that isn't normal so something extra or different must be done to make it go away. It won't go away on its own. This let me accept that I needed to ASK someone for HELP. In my case, help usually comes from giving myself permission to speak out loud about what is going through my head. The third step is ACCEPTING the help and FORGIVING myself for asking for it. Yes, asking for help makes me feel guilty because I don't want to make someone else feel bad for me or wear someone else out with my over-charged emotions. This process is in some ways more difficult and way more simple than it sounds. It doesn't work for everyone and it doesn't always work this way every time. All I know is I was a miserable, crying, mess two days ago but today I am up and dressed and writing. 

As soon as I am able to realize that these bouts of depression are not natural and are not my fault I can begin to separate the icky, gray, self-loathing from the normal thoughts that should be going through my head. This is so very important for me because I am a very visual-minded person. I have to be able to see a problem in my head to find a solution for it. In this case I imagined I could SEE my Grey Monster, sitting there lounging in my head and making itself comfortable. I visualized myself standing in front of it and yelling, "Get Out NOW! You are not welcome. GO away. I don't need you."
I can't say exactly WHY this worked, but after a few minutes of repeating this visualization, I felt stronger and more calm.

Now, I am not saying it was easy or immediate or that making this choice made me instantly feel better. All it did was give me permission to look for help. That is a major step in the right direction, though, because no one can really accept help without acknowledging their need for it AND their right to accept it. Before I got to this point, I went over to my #1 sister's house and talked with her a little. I was still a miserable mess, but sometimes getting out of the house can make me feel better, at least for awhile. My sister likes to help people feel better and she has researched a lot of ways that people can help each other specifically in the areas of clinical depression. I won't lie, though. I wasn't ready to hear any of it. I let her talk and I listened, and I talked and she listened but the Grey Monster still had a hold of my brain at that point. Talking things out, I was able to kind of see what had triggered the avalanche of nastiness, but trying to overcome it at that point was just not happening.

THAT point didn't come until early the next morning. It was 4:00 in the morning. The nightmare had just startled me awake and I was huddled in bed sobbing quietly so as not to wake up DH. Yeah, I know that sounds pretty pathetic, and at the time it was. It was also beyond my control until I was able to come to terms with the fact that this was not something I was capable of handling on my own.  At first, this understanding only helped to calm me down enough that I could stop crying and go back to sleep. But once I woke up the next day, I was able to see the emotional meltdown for what it was - a minor setback - and decide on plans for getting back on track.

First, I took advantage of the hour or so of quiet time I have with DH in the morning. The time between dropping the kids off at school and him leaving for work is the one time we can really be alone and uninterrupted during the day. Being able to talk things out without worrying about the kids is amazingly liberating. I think I probably needed that more than anything else.

After that, I took some time out to take care of myself with a good shower, comfy clothes, and even a little makeup. Going through the motions of fixing my hair and face kind of puts me in the frame of mind that I am worth spending a little time on.  It puts me in a better mood no matter what, and I am more likely to make better choices for me for the rest of the day.

Then, I started cleaning up the mess I made while slumping around all day. I sent an a-mail apologizing for missing one of my appointments. This is a big deal because on my low days I have often missed an appointment somewhere and didn't call or notify them. Then, when I come out of the funk I am so embarrassed for being rude and inconsiderate that I would rather go somewhere else than have to face the person I stood up. That's also when I read through my e-mails and checked FB and saw all the encouraging words from you guys. I started to feel like things really would be alright again.

Just to let you all know - you are free to forward my posts or recommend them to someone you think might enjoy them. If I write something that can help someone, make a person feel better about themselves, or spread some joy somewhere, then I can say my writing is "Affective" and that would make be so very proud.

Deb "Doing Better" Lollar

Monday, February 6, 2012


I am starting to reach the point where I am getting frustrated with all the "trying to get healthier" stuff. I've been recording everything I eat and do. According to my food log, I generally eat fewer calories than I am "allowed" plus I am drinking more water, increasing activity above and beyond the trips to see Dr Hawt, and still the scale refuses to budge.  I'm going into my third week of this with basically no results. Now, I didn't expect to drop ten pounds or anything like that, but even a teeny tiny drop would be welcome. I am EXACTLY the same weight I was just over a week ago...and the week before that.

I think the worst part is, I haven't had to change my habits all that much to align with the Dr's orders. Why is that bad? Well, if I was already doing the right things before, why haven't I seen any progress over the last few years? It doesn't give me much hope that working my butt off like this will be any more beneficial. Now that I have made the changes he wants AND increased my activity, I'm STILL not seeing results. I know it won't happen overnight and I know that I'm not supposed to expect dramatic changes so soon, but isn't three weeks long enough to notice SOMETHING? 

If you look at my overall health, I have definitely seen improvements there. I don't often need a nap during the day, I am sleeping better at night (finally!) and I have more energy during the day- especially in the afternoons and evenings when I used to have the hardest time. I've been checking my blood sugar level every few days and it is stable in the low end of normal. I'm actually seeing vast improvements in my pain levels to the point where I actually take less pain medicine than I used to. I still have general aches and tenderness, but the sharp pains that used to keep me from doing anything at all are much easier to deal with. All of this and I am much more interested in doing little things for myself like wearing flattering clothes instead of sweatpants and putting on make-up when I go out. I guess that means my self esteem is improving, too.

Now, I'm not really complaining. As you can see, I have found so much good to come of these dr visits that I wouldn't dream of stopping. I am just disappointed in the lack of visible changes.

Also, I have this nagging fear that has been gnawing at the back of my mind. What if this is just like all those times where I started a new job and felt good for a few weeks, but it was only a streak of some good days that happen right before I fall on my face. When the bad days start creeping up again (because it is inevitable that they will) how am I going to feel then? Will I still be able to drag myself to the doctor?  Will I end up in so much pain that I am out of commission for days? Will I backslide on the eating plan and gain back anything I manage to lose?

I really am proud with how far I've come. I guess I'm just a teeny bit sad it isn't more obvious and a whole lot worried that it isn't going to last.

Deb "Worry Wart" Lollar